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Frozen (2013)

(2013) Frozen

“So, uh, tell me.  What made the Queen go all ice crazy?” asks Kristoff.  Anna responds, “Oh well, it was all my fault.  I got engaged, but then she freaked out because I’d only just met him, you know, that day.  She said she wouldn’t bless the marriage and…”  Kristoff interrupts, “Wait, you got engaged to someone you just met that day?”

It’s no secret that Disney has a great track record when it comes to adapting fairy tales into animated films (1937’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 1940’s Pinocchio, 1950’s Cinderella, 1951’s Alice In Wonderland, 1953’s Peter Pan, 1959’s Sleeping Beauty, 1989’s The Little Mermaid, 1991’s Beauty and the Beast, 1992’s Aladdin, 1998’s Mulan, 2009’s The Princess and the Frog, and 2010’s Tangled), so it was only natural for me to be excited about Frozen (which was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen) in the months leading up to its release.  Not surprisingly, a lot of positive buzz turned the film into a big box office hit when it finally hit theaters last Thanksgiving.  I got a chance to see the film in 3D a couple of weeks after it opened, and it was just as enjoyable as I had anticipated.  This review of Frozen is my entry in the Fairy Tale Blogathon hosted by Movies Silently (as noted by the logo at the top)

2013’s Frozen centers on a princess who sets off on a quest to find her estranged sister whose cryokinetic powers have accidentally trapped their kingdom in an eternal winter.  The princess is joined along the way by a thrill-seeking mountain man, his pet reindeer, and a snowman who had been inadvertently brought to life by the sister.  An impressive voice cast was brought together by co-directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee: Kristen Bell (as Anna), Idina Menzel (as Elsa), Jonathan Groff (as Kristoff), the scene-stealing Josh Gad (as Olaf, the adorable snowman), Santino Fontana (as Hans), Alan Tudyk (as the Duke of Weselton), Chris Williams (as Oaken), Ciaran Hinds (as Grand Pabbie the Troll King), and Maurice LaMarche (as the King of Arendelle).  Lee, who also voiced the Queen of Arendelle, wrote the terrific screenplay, which focuses on the relationship between two sisters (a rarity for a Disney animated film) rather than featuring the traditional protagonist/antagonist setup (the true villain is revealed much later in the film).  The story also explores what true love really means, and that it doesn’t always have to refer to romance.

The animation was just wonderful, blending the styles of computer and hand-drawn animation.  Michael Giaimo, who was responsible for the look of the film, seems to have drawn inspiration from the cinematography of such films as Black Narcissus and The Sound of Music.  David Womersley’s Nordic-inspired production design was incredible, from the kingdom of Arendelle to the mountains and Elsa’s ice palace.  Jean Gillmore’s costume designs were top-notch (the costumes in this film feature more detail than any other computer-animated film I’ve ever seen before).  Christophe Beck provides a superb, Nordic-inspired score, and Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez contribute character and story-driving songs, including “Do You Want To Build A Snowman,” “For the First Time In Forever,” and the Oscar-winning “Let It Go.”  While I may not agree with the film’s Academy Award win for Best Animated Feature (an honor that should have gone to Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises), Frozen is nevertheless an entertaining film with a strong story, engaging characters, light-hearted humor, and memorable music (there is something for everyone to enjoy).

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11 responses to “Frozen (2013)

  1. I haven’t seen this one yet and I probably won’t soon because my wife anda daughter are both teachers and they are very tired of kids singing “Let it Go” in the playground. Based on your comments, I think it sounds like a good movie. Thank you for sharing with all of us.

  2. I watched Frozen yesterday… and liked it a lot. The last 30 minutes wer very surprising! My favorite character, as I already expected, was Olaf the snowman.
    And, I’m ashamed to say, I didn’t know it was based in The Snow Queen until the end of the movie…
    Great review! Thanks!
    Don’t forget to read my contribution to the blogathon! 🙂
    Greetings!
    http://www.criticaretro.blogspot.com.br/2014/11/variacoes-sobre-um-mesmo-tema-snow.html

  3. I watched this for the first time a few weeks ago and liked it a lot more than I’d like to admit. I love that you pointed out the costumes, as they’re so wonderful, especially considering it’s an animation.

  4. This one has really grown on me since it was released, especially the songs. Looking forward to seeing it again in the build up to Christmas!

  5. Thanks so much for joining in and claiming the two ton gorilla on the block. 😉 Great review!

    • You’re welcome. I’ve only seen a few films based on fairy tales on the big screen, and most of the ones I had seen were already taken for the blogathan (and I had already reviewed the 1924 version of The Thief of Bagdad almost two years ago). Thankfully, Frozen was still available.

  6. I just recently watched Frozen to prepare for the new season of Once Upon A Time and really enjoyed the movie. Loved all the characters! This is such a great addition to the Fairy Tale blogathon.

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